Lebanon is on the right evolutionary path towards 5G, says Roger Ghorayeb, customer team head for growth in West MEA, Nokia in an exclusive interview with Telecom Review. Ghorayeb highlighted the role of Nokia in expediting 5G deployment in Lebanon.
We see a good number of 5G deals have been signed by Nokia with leading operators in MEA and across the globe. How is Nokia positioned on this?
Yes, we have now more than 25 5G contracts across the globe and have already had almost 100 5G engagements with customers in every region of the world. We are the only vendor with a 5G end-to-end portfolio across all network domains and present in all the regions of the world. We believe that no company is better positioned to deliver 5G than us.
Fact is that 5G is more than a new technology advancement unlike in 3G and 4G. 5G is more than radio as it involves tight interworking across all the network domains: access, backhaul, cloud native core and network slicing and security. As such, 5G characteristics in terms of speed, capacity and latency rely on an exhaustive set of enabling technologies like, but not limited to, fiber backhauling, network slicing, automation and analytics as well as seamless IP infrastructure. Therefore, Nokia’s 5G leadership position is based on its unique end-to-end portfolio offering. Our end-to-end 5G offering includes Nokia’s innovative Future X architecture, AirScale radio platform, AirFrame data center solution, 5G core, mobile transport, services for 5G and 5G acceleration services. The Future X architecture invented by our Nokia Bell Labs has made it possible to mix the knowledge across Nokia technologies including IP, optics, RF, software and innovative in-house silicon.
We are able to deliver unprecedented capabilities and efficiencies that will allow our customers to transform their networks to provide 5G services. Nokia is a one-stop shop for 5G for its customers, guarantying performance, high quality and security, thanks to the power of end-to-end 5G solutions. Early adoption of 5G is expected to be more rapid than what we saw in earlier generations of technologies globally and in particular in the MEA region.
In your opinion, where is Lebanon in its 5G journey and what role is Nokia playing in accelerating 5G deployment?
Lebanon is on the right evolutionary path towards 5G and Nokia is playing a technology enablement role in this regard. Fiber infrastructure and services are mandatory to address the 5G requirements related to speed, capacity and latency especially when it comes to the backbone network. The national fiber project, the national and international optical transport projects and the IP MPLS national broadband network project have built the fundamental pillars based on which the 5G network architecture such as converged edge cloud, massive-scale access and SDN smart network fabric become possible. Nokia has been actively present in these foundational projects.
On the mobile network dimension, Nokia is helping its operator customers through a clearly defined evolutionary path - 4.5G Pro, 4.9G reaching ultimately 5G – with its commercially available 5G end-to-end portfolio. We initiated this engagement last year with Alfa where we demonstrated the 4.5G Pro showing gigabit speeds. This kind of higher-speed broadband will enable data-hungry applications and services such as Ultra High Definition video streaming, e-health and e-education, and can support millions of smart devices connected for Internet of Things (IOT) and smart cities. On the radio platform front, we have already deployed Nokia AirScale base station both in Alfa and touch networks that is 5G-ready to deliver 5G non standalone (NSA) configuration in 2019.
What is Nokia hoping to achieve in Lebanon by the end of 2019?
In Lebanon, the road to 5G was paved by the launch of the LTE-Advanced network back in 2017, and the evolution was happening during the past few years. Alfa and Nokia successfully completed the 4.5G Pro (CAT 16) cluster in Hazmieh area recently. Nokia is determined to continue on the same evolutionary path to demonstrate further gigabit LTE speeds in live network environment. For 5G, Nokia will leverage its Fixed Wireless Access 5G CPEs and plan to have the first 5G cluster ready in Lebanon by end of 2019.